The hidden qualities of Josip Juranovic that give Celtic an unlikely emergency option
Celtic star Josip Juranovic has been playing out of position.
This is not news, everybody knows this. A Croatian international right-back playing on the left has been a source of anxiety, or amusement, depending on your point of view.
With Anthony Ralston shoring up the right-back slot, Juranovic has had to settle for a place on the opposite side. In fairness, he’s been excellent. As explored yesterday, his tackles-to-fouls ratio is phenomenally good, and he’s still able to make accurate, dangerous passes at a fantastic rate.
However, Josip Juranovic’ and his skill-set go even further. In a wide-ranging press conference with print media, the Croatian explained that right-back isn’t even his “natural” position.
Instead, Juranovic’s career began as a midfield player, specifically similar to the roles Callum McGregor plays now.
Juranovic explained [Herald]:
“I started in midfield, not left-back, I started as a number six or a number eight. And then I started playing for Hadjuk Split.
“Damir Buric was my coach and he said to me ‘you could make a good career as a right full-back.’
“At first I was like, “no, no way.” But then I came around and said, “okay I will accept that.”
“And because of him I am here now. He was 100 percent right.”
Of course Celtic man Josip Juranovic started out as a midfielder; it makes total sense
You can see it, can’t you? With his physical frame, speed and deliveries, Josip Juranovic would probably still make a fine midfielder. Even if it’s been a long time since he’s played there.
Now, that provides an interesting thought for Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. Should the Hoops need a mobile midfielder with real quality in the tackle, Juranovic is there.
It’s another way of keeping both Ralston and Juranovic happy, too. But the Croatian international is clear; his favoured position is right-back.
You hear the cliché all the time. “I’m mad, me!”, players say, “I’ll go in goals if the manager asks me to!”. Juranovic, though, gives the impression of a player who’s genuinely malleable to what a coach needs from him.
What a resource that is. Obviously, it’s far more likely that Juranovic will end up being the number 1 right back at Celtic.
For Postecoglou, though, it’s an extra tool at his disposal should he ever need it.